Athens, the County seat of Henderson County, was established by an act of the Texas Legislature in 1850 on a one square mile site of land donated by Matthew Cartwright. The city was incorporated in 1856. However, through a mischievous prank by several citizens the incorporation was abolished.
E. J. Thompson, County Clerk of Henderson County is credited with being the first citizen of Athens. Mrs. Dull Averiette named Athens in honor of Athens Greece. Mrs. Averiette felt the town would become the cultural center of the county. An interesting sequence of Mrs. Averiette’s prophecy is that the new high school is now located in the exact spot on the tree shaded hill where the original Averiette home was built before the War between the states. This large rustic home burned several years ago and the Athens Public School System purchase the site, which included some 30 acres, and have built several new school buildings and playing fields there. The Averiette family lived there until the late twenties when the grandsons of Mrs. Averiette moved to California.
Henderson County was created in 1846 from Houston and Nacogdoches Counties. Named for J. Pinckney Henderson, first Governor of Texas, who was in office when the county was created.
The topography of Henderson County consists of rolling hills, with 32% of the county forested. There is drainage to the Neches and the Trinity Rivers. Clay, loam and sandy soils make up the county. Oil, gas, sand, gravel and clays are produced.
Beef, cattle, and poultry are chief farm enterprises. Nursery stock, timber, fruits, and vegetables are sources of income with some commercial fish farming. Athens is known as the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital”, and lays claim to being the Home of the Original Hamburger.
Texas Legislature established the town of Athens (formerly known as Alfred)
Athens established and became the county seat of HendersonCounty
Pottery industry began in Athens by Levi Cogburn
The Athens Bulletin became the first newspaper printed in HendersonCounty
Hawn Lumber Company opened. Became the oldest continuous business in Athens
First issue of the Athens Review printed on a Washington hand press
First bond election passed to build a public school building ($5,000)
City of Athens successfully incorporated
Uncle Fletch Davis introduced his creation, “the hamburger”, to the world at the St. Louis World’s Fair
Current Henderson County Courthouse built; refurbished in 1965 and again in 1986
Cotton Palace served the HendersonCounty area as agricultural fairgrounds
Athens High School won the final two National High School Basketball Tournaments held annually for many years at the University of Chicago
Old Fiddlers gathered on the downtown square for the first Old Fiddler’s Reunion (officially begun in Bethel, the group moved to Athens in 1933)
Henderson County Junior College began educating Texas students (now TrinityValleyCommunity College)
Henderson County Memorial Hospital opened
Athens Municipal Airport opened
Athens boasts the first Dairy Queen in Texas to offer an inside dining room
Texas Legislature established the Henderson County Historical Commission
Lake Athens was constructed offering quality water and recreational opportunities
The Spanish Trace Inn opened for business on the same day the nation loses it President
First Black-Eyed Pea Jamboree held to celebrate the farming industry in Athens
Ground-breaking held for a new 4,000 seat coliseum at the Henderson County Fairgrounds
The Cain Center opened as a state-of-the-art civic and community center
First Annual Uncle Fletch Davis Hamburger Cook-off was held
Athens Central Business Association was formed
East Texas Medical Center opened new modern facility on South Highway 19
Texas Department of Transportation approved creation of a loop around Athens
Keep Athens Beautiful was formed
Athens Economic Development Corporation was formed to aid in bringing new business to Athens
100.38 acres were purchased to develop the East Texas Arboretum
Community leaders organized the Athens Visitor Initiative Program to further promote the Athens Community
Texas Governor George Bush cut the ribbon to officially open the TexasFreshwaterFisheriesCenter, a major cooperative effort for Athens and the TexasParks and Wildlife Department
Trinity Mother Francis Hospital opened the Emergency Care Clinic
The County moved administrative offices to a newly renovated annex building across from the courthouse
Expanding tourism outreach, the Athens Visitor Initiative Program officially opened the Athens Welcome Center on the downtown square
Athens Middle School is constructed on Hwy. 19 South in response to an expanding student base
Texas Department of Transportation completes the last section of Loop 7 around Athens
Athens became a Certified Retirement Community through the GO TEXAN program
Disciples Clinic opens offering free indigent care
In an expansion move, Henderson County purchases Prosperity Bank
The historic Masonic Lodge is imploded to make way for a new location of Prosperity Bank in downtown Athens
Expansion of Hwy 175 finishes, providing a four-lane highway connecting Dallas to Athens
East Texas Medical Center announces a $32M expansion of their Athens facility to be completed in 2011
A major move combines Athens Economic Development Corporation, the Athens Chamber of Commerce, the Athens Department of Tourism, the TVCC Small Business Development Corporation, Keep Athens Beautiful, and the Murchison Foundation providing one stop shopping for guests to town.
The Henderson County Performing Arts Center presents, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the final production of...
If you have little ones this is one event that you do not want to miss!
A special showing of the Polar Express at the Henderson County Library.
The new hotel is close to a variety of local attractions and recreational activities as well as many corporate locations in A...
Get eye-to-eye with some of the largest freshwater fish in captivity, then try our casting pond!
America's Best Value Inn offers a central location from which to begin your Athens exploration.
A guide to local eating establishments
Tara Vineyard and Winery is the oldest winery in Henderson County, established in 2004.
Stay appreciated. Stay Picky. Stay Smart. Stay Impressed. Stay Invigorated. Stay Holiday Inn.
A fitness center with its many exercise areas and civic center with rooms available for a wide variety of functions.
A guide to local retail shops & galleries
General tourism brochure for Athens, Texas.
Combining country charm and simplicity with big city conveniences - a stay at the Victorian Inn is like staying with family.